WEEK 5 Extended Project

Conducting research into fast paced animation

The first couple of techniques I already know but need more research into are blurring, smearing and timing.

Blurring and smearing


Smearing is usually found between to key frames, it’s like a normal frame but is more morphed and a little strange. There are different types of smearing which are stretching and multiples; stretching is where the character/object becomes stretched out, however this can be made to only occur in certain parts of an object or character, like a character’s arms moving.

J.Ruocco, M. (2011). Smears, Multiples and Other Animation Gimmicks. Retrieved from Tumblr: http://animationsmears.tumblr.com/

Multiples are when the character/object has multiple versions of itself, either separately space from each other, the spacing varies depending on the action, or the multiples are part of one character or object, like a character having multiple eyes and necks in one frame.

J.Ruocco, M. (2011). Smears, Multiples and Other Animation Gimmicks. Retrieved from Tumblr: http://animationsmears.tumblr.com/


When creating stretching in animation, a key point of the stretching is to retain the shape between the point where it starts and where it ends, placed half way. When working on multiples, it seems that positioning and spacing are very important factors as it shows how the object or character is moving between those two points, usually these multiples follow an arch pattern.

Motion Blur

Motion blur in animation is the recreation of what happens when a camera records fast movement with a low shutter speed, it blurs. Motion blurs are dictated by a couple of things, like the direction, the speed and some randomness. A way to measure how big the motion blur is, is by using the onion skin and seeing how far the object/character’s limb travels from the frame before, the greater the distance, the bigger the blur.

When creating the blurs, it’s good to have the eraser and the pen ready, this is because there will be a lot of erasing and drawing to get the blurs right. When creating the motion blur, leave at least some rough outline of the original object/character, this will make it easier to animate future frames with onion skins. Also when creating the blur lines, it’s good to distribute them going further out and a little bit in the character/object.

There are two types of blurs, the trailer edge blur which usually comes from behind the direction the object/character is heading and the leading edge which is at the front of the object/character. When creating the leading edge, the blur lines must not go head of the object/character as they have not reached that destination, this is something I need to be careful about when dealing with blur lines.

Looking at the book, Illusions of life Disney animation by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, on page 116 it shows an example of another way of using motion. From the Adventures of Mr Toad, Weasel quickly approaches toad to shake his hand, as he reaches Toad to shake his hand, the speed lines are still catching up to him, this exaggerates the speed.



Looking back at the Illusions of life Disney animation, on page 64 to 65 it talks about timing. When dealing with the speed and timing of movements from characters, the varying speeds of the movement can determine the different personalities ad emotions of that character, like “lethargic, excited, nervous, relaxed. Neither acting nor attitude could be portrayed without paying very close attention to timing.” It also talks about how timing even effects the most basic actions as it can change the meaning entirely, an example it gives is imagine a character’s head, “first showing it leaning toward the right shoulder and the second with it over on the left and its chin slightly raised”. Now here are the different meanings it could give when left or given in-between frames, shown by the book:

“No in-betweens- THE CHARACTER has been hit by a tremendous force. His head is nearly snapped off.

One in-between-   ………………………. has been hit by a brick, rolling pin, frying pan.

Two in-betweens- ………………………. has a nervous tic, a muscle spasm, an uncontrollable twitch.

Three in-betweens- ……………………. is dodging the brick, rolling pin, frying pan.

Four in-betweens- ……………………… is giving a crisp order, “Get going!” “Move it!”

Five in-betweens- ………………………. is more friendly, “Over here.” “Come on- hurry!”

Six in-betweens- ………………………… sees a good-looking girl, or the sports car he has always wanted.

Seven in-betweens- …………………… tries to get a better look at something.

Eight in-betweens- ……………………. searches for the peanut butter on the kitchen shelf.

Nine in-betweens- …………………….. appraises, considering, thoughtfully.

Ten in-betweens- ………………………. stretches a sore muscle.”

In my earlier research, I found in some animations they would use two or more frames of the same drawing, the book talks about it. They are know as “Ones” and “Twos”, “This referred to the number of frames of film to be shot of a single drawing”. They used this because it was known that most actions don’t require new drawings for every frame, so to save time they would use the same drawing; it also had an effect on slower movements, giving the animation a smoother appearance. Twos in fast actions scenes also caused an effect, it would make the action seem to have “more sparkle and spirt than the same action with in-betweens, which tended to make the timing too even and removed vitality. An important thing I have to keep in mind when working with Ones and Twos is if I have the camera panning and it has the character’s feet in contact with the floor in the shot, the animation would have to be on Ones. This is because the character will have to match the moves of the pan, otherwise “there would be a slippage which looked peculiar. Similar, if the camera were moving in any direction (which must be on “ones”), there would be a strange jittering unless the character’s actions were one “ones” also.”


From this I have learnt the basic techniques of animation and fast paced animation, this will allow me to begin to put into practice those techniques and see whether they can be apply to rotoscoping, such as adding motion blur to frames with fast movement, smearing and instead of rotoscoping every frame, only rotoscope key frames, a couple of in-betweens and then timing it correctly with Ones and Twos.


Frank Thomas, O. J. (1981). The Illustrations of Life Disney Animation. Italy: Walt Disney Productions.

J.Ruocco, M. (2011). Smears, Multiples and Other Animation Gimmicks. Retrieved from Tumblr: http://animationsmears.tumblr.com/

Jazza, D. w. (2013, August 14). How To: Animation Smears. Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a71-rmYCqMU

Martin, S. (n.d.). Animation Tricks. Retrieved from https://web.cs.wpi.edu/~matt/courses/cs563/talks/anim_tricks.html

slowtiger. (2013, August 15). Motion blur, smears and multiples. Retrieved from Moho Forum: http://www.lostmarble.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=24645

Wimshurst, H. (2015, December 23). How to Animate a Fight Scene | Motion Blurs. Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ScUIpzswbE





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